There are several things to consider when purchasing your first home to ensure you are confident and happy with your purchase.
Are there any issues with the property?
Check odours such as mould, and animal-related odours. Knock on walls to see if they sound hollow. If there are appliances that will be purchased with the home make sure you open them and look inside, you never know if pests are living in there. Does the toilet flush properly? Does the heating/air-conditioning work? Is there a fireplace and does it function correctly? Does the home have good water pressure?
Seek experienced professional advice.
Hire the most thorough, licensed property inspector you can find to locate any issues that could potentially end up becoming costly repairs. To avoid conflict, make sure your lawyer is not also representing the seller.
Use common sense rather than your heart.
Don't be afraid to walk away from a bad deal. There will be other properties and possibly even better ones. Remember that this is a big financial transaction and your terms must be met.
Negotiate as much as possible
You can use an agent to do the negotiating on your behalf however, you can't be certain how hard they will negotiate for you.
As the buyer, you should feel in control and as though you have nothing to lose through tough negotiation.
Don't feel pressured
Real estate agents are expert salespeople. They may get you to rush over to the 'perfect' property and encourage you to make an offer before someone else snaps it up. If you feel rushed at all, then back up and take your time, it’s on your side.
Consider carefully how much you can really afford
Work out your budget based on what you can afford to repay now and not the maximum you're allowed to borrow.
Buy a property you can afford now, not later
Even if you're pretty confident you'll be earning more in a year or two, you might also find that circumstances change, expenses increase and you may also find you gain other expenses in your life for example. Children, schools, new cars and travel plans are substantial costs. Make sure there will be room in your budget for you to live the life you want.
Select an agent carefully
Prepare any questions you have prior to your meeting. Find out what kind of experience they have, how many buyers they are representing and if they can share any references. Speak to a few different agents before deciding on one.
The search can take longer than you think
Don't operate on someone else's timeline and don't make commitments that will make things challenging for you if your property search takes a few months longer than you had originally planned. If you're renting, stay on a month-to-month agreement so that you are able to move without any penalties.
Save the biggest deposit you can
Saving a deposit will help you in several ways. Firstly, it will show your potential lender that you can use financial discipline over a period of time.
Secondly, the larger the deposit the higher the equity you’ll have in your property from the start, which means you will pay less interest. One of the best ways to save your deposit may be to take out a high interest savings account.
If you are applying for the First home owners grant (FHOG) do it early.
The most suitable time to apply for the First Home Owner Grant is at the same time you apply for your home loan. You can lodge your grant application through most lenders, if they are an authorised agent and able to receive it. If you do this it will be processed faster than if you send it directly to your relevant State or Territory Revenue Office, the government authority that administers it.
In most cases the grant will be processed by the time of settlement or, if you are building, by the time your lender will be paying over the first scheduled construction loan payment. If you miss out, you will still have 12 months from settlement, or from the completion of the building, to apply. Even then, in special circumstances, the commissioner can further extend this time limit.
Get rid of any excess debt.
Don’t make the mistake of applying for your first home loan while you have excessive debt. Pay off and close any credit cards you don't really need, complete your car payments and pay as much as you can on any personal loans, then make your home loan your top priority.
Don’t believe everything you are told.
Don’t necessarily believe everything you are told. Make sure you carry out thorough building and pest inspections and also find out what prices similar houses in the same area are selling for. If you do your research properly you should feel confident.
Make sure you are eligible for certain grants and incentives
Various state and territory governments may also offer their own incentives to first home buyers in the way of grants. Most states also give bounteous concessions off the costs of stamp duty imposts. Make sure you know what is available to you in the locality you are buying your first home.